Emergency Financial Aid Grants for Students - American Rescue (ARP) Act

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, signed into law on March 11, 2021, which allocated funds to higher education institutions across the nation.

These ARP funds will be distributed as grants with appropriate use stipulations and requires institutions to disburse a portion of these funds in direct support to eligible students. This is similar to other funds received through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

The funds must be used to cover expenses related to students’ cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to COVID-19, including but not limited to:

  • tuition
  • food and housing
  • health care and mental health care
  • childcare
  • course materials and technology

Institutions cannot require students to use funds to pay tuition or past due balances. However, students may choose to apply the funds toward tuition.

Students not eligible include concurrent high school students, postsecondary enrollment option students (PSEO), or those being assessed senior citizen tuition rates or those enrolled in non-credit or those incarcerated. For those whose tuition and fees are partially covered by a third-party, it is at the campus discretion of whether those students are eligible to receive CRRSAA/ARP student financial grants. Minnesota State employees who are receiving tuition benefits are not eligible to receive CRRSAA/ARP funds. The students considered ineligible for the broad grant distributions are also considered ineligible for the portion set aside for emergency grants.

Statutory guidance requires SCTCC to distribute $5,398,575 of ARP funds to eligible students. The U.S. Department of Education required all higher education institutions to prioritize the funds to support students with exceptional financial need.

How funds are being distributed

SCTCC’s plan for distribution of the ARP funds is to distribute approximately $3 million to approximately 1,965 students enrolled Fall 2021 and the remaining portion to students enrolled Spring 2022. As of December 31, $3,140,375 had been distributed to 1,918 students. An additional $1,977.96 for student account payoff transactions. 

In addition, $300,000 is being set aside for need-based emergency grants available to students from the American Rescue Plan Institutional allocation.

ARP Student Disbursement Plan:

  • First disbursement made the week of October 25, 2021, to eligible enrolled students with Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $19,477 or less:
    • EFC ($0 - $5,846)$1,200 Base Grant per Student
    • EFC ($5,847 - $19,477) $850 Base Grant per Student
    • Supplemental awards to all students receiving a base grant - based on number of enrolled credits:
      • 1 through 5 credits $0
      • 6 through 8 credits $400
      • 9 through 11 credits $525
      • 12 through 15 credits $650
      • 16 credits and over $900
    • Total estimated cost of base and supplemental awards for fall - $3,221,125 disbursed to approximately 1,965 students with individual awards ranging from $850 to $2,100. Actual distributions processed as of December 31, 2021 was $3,140,375 distributed to 1,918 students. The decrease is due to student enrollment changes since the initial estimate.
    • Starting Tuesday, October 26, 2021, students were able to see their ARP grant award in eServices under Bills and Payments.
  • Second disbursement to be made in April (anticipated dates of April 4-8)
    • Same EFC base and supplemental schedule (above) used with award amounts to be determined based on number of students and remaining ARP Student funding (est. $2,250,000)

For those whose tuition and fees are covered by a third-party, at campus discretion per federal requirements, SCTCC has determined those students are eligible to receive CRRSAA/ARP student financial grants.

Student Emergency Funds Eligibility Guidance and Process:

  1. ARP Institutional funding of $300,000 has been designated for student Emergency Grant Awards
    • Only students eligible under the student disbursement plan are eligible for the Emergency Grant funds
    • Total students Emergency Grant Awards will be up to $1,000. Requests greater than $1,000 will be reviewed for consideration by the Vice President of Administration
    • Students will apply via an electronic application with the ability to upload documentation for requested need. Director of Financial Aid, Director of Business Services, and the Student Support Manager review applications
    • Additional allocations to Emergency Grant Awards from ARP Institutional funding may be made as needed